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Questions from Designated School Officials: Changing a Program Start Date

June 3, 2013

Questions from Designated School Officials is a blog series on Study in the States for designated school officials (DSOs). Each month, we will answer a question that will help you advise your F and/or M students. If you are a DSO and would like to submit a question, you can email us or ask us via social media, your Field Representative or the SEVP Response Center. We may edit questions for clarity and consistency and may not feature all submissions on Study in the States.

Question: When should I defer the program start date on a student’s Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status"?

Answer: You may only defer a student’s program start date to the start date of a later term if the student meets at least two conditions:

  • Has not yet entered the United States
  • Will not be able to arrive and enroll for the term beginning on the current program start date

Please note, if a student will arrive at your school after the program start date but still within your school’s time limit to register for that session, you do not need to defer the program start date.  

If you have questions about deferring an F or M student’s program start date, you can call the SEVP Response Center at (703) 603-3400 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.


  • 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(i)
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